Archive for February, 2012

Learning to Bake Bread

God’s been talking to me about bread lately.

Helpful, given that the tag line of The Shared Table is ‘Breaking Bread – Building Relationships.’ For the past month, most of my bread-breaking/relationship building has taken place on the floor, not in the kitchen, or the dining room table. My dining companion? The one who became broken bread for us…

JESUS

Why am I eating my meals on the floor with Jesus? I’m not, at least not in the literal sense. You see, the floor is about the only place where I can find a position that gives me relief from the sciatic pain coursing down my right leg. Amazing how easy it is to talk to God when you’re flat on your back staring at the ceiling.

Floor Time Discoveries:

  • Heat rises…brrrr!
  • Dust settles
  • Restlessness rules

Apparently God’s not too concerned about the room temperature or my housekeeping skills, but He seems quite determined to deal with my restlessness. It’s as if He’s saying, “Why, exactly, ¬†are you thrashing around? Relax; you’re not missing anything. Come, dine with me.”

My back muscles gradually start to release and then He hands me my daily portion. Two days ago my ‘portion’ consisted of these words: LEARN TO BAKE BREAD.

Huh? I know how to break bread, I just choose not to: it takes too much time, requires so much patience and attention and (lightbulb moment) …..I’m TOO RESTLESS.

Even though I was pretty sure He wasn’t talking to me about physically baking bread, I headed into the kitchen and baked a beautiful loaf of Irish Soda Bread, with molasses, golden raisins and caraway seeds.

(Notice I chose a quick bread!)

I heard the phrase, Learn to Bake Bread while I was thinking about how I tend to be disappointed because my high expectations of Christian community (friends, neighbors and strangers, gathered together to eat, pray, worship, search the Scriptures, serve, laugh and cry and not just because they were randomly assigned to a home group) don’t happen that often.

Then I heard, “Your expectations are valid, but the only way they will happen is if people are really hungry and up until now, my people haven’t been hungry. But get ready – LEARN TO BAKE BREAD.”

Me, dense as a loaf of 100% whole wheat: “What are you talking about, Lord?”

The answer came in the form of a friend’s Facebook post: “It is vain for you to rise early, to retire late, to eat the BREAD OF SORROW, for he gives to his beloved in his sleep.”

Ohhh… sorrow bread - the kind that the more you chew the more it seems to expand in your mouth and becomes impossible to swallow? If our diets are based on sorrow bread, we’ll never be able to point others to Jesus, to offer them the real bread of life, to experience community.

This scripture verse from Jeremiah 15:16 describes the kind of bread we’re to eat and then share with the hungry:

“Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”

PRAYER

Lord, forgive me for feeding on sorrow bread, when your Word is the bread of life. The world (including me) continues to ‘spend money on what is not bread’ instead of delighting in your abundance, feeding on your faithfulness, dwelling in your presence. That hunger for security and fulfillment can only be found in you.

Please remind me, whenever I’m anxious, or acting out of self-pity and self-interest, every time I reach out for the wrong bread, to “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” and then offer a portion to others.

In Jesus name, amen.